Last Friday, Arianespace, the company that launches satellites for the European Union, has had to concede that the two satellites it launched into orbit, Dorea and Milena, were in “noncompliant orbit, ” which means they’re spinning around the planet in the wrong orbit. Well, now they can call someone in Tel Aviv, and they’ll take care of both their problems.
New Israeli startup Effective Space Solutions is developing a way to tow satellites which have been launched into the wrong location or that have shifted their orbits into an effective orbit.
It’s called the De-Orbiter, a Robotic spacecraft that can rendezvous and dock near to retired communication satellites to extend their lifespan to the end of their actual fuel capacity. It can also relocate satellites at a different orbit location.
It’s like something out of a Hollywood movie like Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys from 2000. A satellite has failed to maintain the proper orbit and is even in danger of crash landing on the Earth which could cause major damage and loss of life. So suit up Bruce Willis or George Clooney and go out on a dangerous mission into space.
The new technology would also have come in handy 25 years ago when the Hubble Telescope was first launched by NASA. That telescope suffered from a multiple of problems when it went into service.
It could have been used to save the Galileo satellite, which was recently launched in the wrong direction, if it were already operational. The technology is expected to be ready for use within 18 months.
The De-Orbiter weighs 250 kilograms, 1/10 – 1/20 of the weight of the average communications satellite and will be outfitted with an ion thruster, a relatively new, longer-lasting power system that is easier to control than the traditional chemical thrusters.
Effective Space Solutions declares that its mission is to solve traditional challenges encountered by the space industry by incorporating leading methods and technologies applied in the hi-tech industries, and to provide High-end micro and small satellite for demanding tasks at an affordable price.
Headquartered in Givatayim, the company was founded by the former head of Israel’s space directorate and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. space division general manager Arie Halsband, and Yuval Rabin is on its board of directors.
Halsband told Globes about the Galileo, “We could have saved the satellite. That was exactly the situation we’re aiming at. Our micro-satellite was designed to provide space services, such as changing a location or communications problems between satellites.”
Each De-Orbiter is expected to cost $25 million to produce and launch.
Effective Space Solutions has received $1 million in funding from Israel based venture fund Singulariteam Ltd., and 1.5 million shekels ($420, 300) from the Israel Space Agency.